Winter 1918, Date Unknown, Day 13
This may very well be the final entry I make. It seems lifetimes ago, the plane carrying not only myself, but a dozen men suddenly lost altitude. Plummeting to the snow choked earth below, upon impact several perished. More never escaped the raging inferno leaving just us four… Alive. It should have been five, it would've been five. But Allard, beloved pilot slit his own throat knowing cannibalism had become necessary. Though, before the life fully bleed from those haunted orbs he muttered "Lenore" like some lost, but never truly forgotten lover. Lenore. That word will haunt me to the end of my days.
Now it was down to just us, four unfortunate and weary souls twilight falls across this desolate wasteland. Our only traveling companions, were the relentless wind and blinding snow. So 'snow blind' were we…that we nearly missed what was suddenly there, right before our frozen finger tips. A Wall, one so solid we weep at its presence, renewing our failing strength. Without question we began to follow it, knowing where there was a wall, there was a door. A door meant people, which meant warmth, much needed food and perhaps, a way home.
Home--home, where hopefully the madness which ensnared the entire world into this Great War--had finally subsided. Only time would tell. Every few precious inches we would rap upon the wall, which served two purposes. One to ensure the wall, itself did exist and two in hopes of locating that elusive entrance. With snow drifts up to our knees--sometimes deeper--we rotated allowing those who'd broken the trail to rest and those whom followed, to break it. None of us were unnerved by the unnaturally long twilight. Exhausted perhaps, though I believe we may've contributed it to the fact, we crashed amongst the mountain range better known as--The Roof of The World.
Why we crashed, I do not know. Why the impassable Himalayans, I can not say. What I do know for certain is, if I stayed--stayed in those blood soaked, poison filled trenches--I would've been dead in months. If not days… Still I am no deserter for I've seen my own fair share of Death, Destruction and Mayhem. I'd seen what this war did to a man's mind, body and eventually, his soul. With innocence lost, I felt that my soul was tainted enough to last every man on those barbed wired front lines, years to come. Luck allowed me to claim the final seat upon this mission, one where only the commanding officer and pilot had known the reason and destination. Both dead, the officer in the crash and Allard on the trail. Leaving just us four damned souls with sand slipping away.
Recently, I just rotated to the rear roughly around the seventh time, when we rapped… I meet with no resistance. The snow gave and for a fleeting moment I was afraid I wouldn't stop, however my glove did, producing a different note. Upon hearing such a chord, we descended like animals digging as if our very lives depended upon it. Till we exposed a slightly recessed moon-gate, a naked door of a deep cherry greeted us… Everything changed. My comrades turned and up to that point I'd been willing to risk my own life for their survival. No more for those unspeakable looks plaster plainly upon their faces, I knew. Knew from my own experiences in those god-forsaken trenches…. They were going to kill me.
Why. I did not know, nor in that split second did I care because it was either THEM or ME. And somewhere, deep in my broken soul, I knew it had to be me. If the current plait had occurred upon the front, I may've had a chance, but in this icy hell… numbers won. They disarmed me, leaving only a few precious protective layers--enough, just enough to make a minor beating seem like an entirely different beast. Between their impressions of bad cop, I'd only caught one word murmured amongst them. "Shamballah."
Shamballah? I was getting my ass kicked like some god-damn recruit over something like that!? It astounded me, that these harden men believed we indeed found such a place. Only problem was… I knew what most westerners knew. A Myth. A LEGEND. I must've blackened out, for I was rudely awoken. How I can not say, though I remember it been quiet painful. A blood-red dusk greeted me, which meant the sun had finally set beyond the earth's horizon. Two of my former comrades looked forlorn, like a kid cheated out of a promised sweet. The other--the other--he looked like the only kid who'd gotten exactly what he wanted… This happened to include a large knife in hand. It would seem they've tired of their petty game and decided it was time to end it. By whatever means the one granted the prestige as my executioner, hefted his knife skyward-- Time stood still.
The instant I'd been slated to die, their backs were turned towards the door. They knew not what was occurring behind them, and if they had… I ponder if they would've marveled as I did. That dark cherry door, wooden by sound alone swung inwards on hinges that made no sound and revealed light sucking depths from which a figure emerged effortless from. Nay a man, one who've been more at home in the early 19th century; appearing like a gentleman dressed for a night about town, though he forgotten his dining jacket, top hat and coat. He even had what appeared to be a cane, tucked beneath his left arm as the door closed as silently as it had opened. A mere heartbeat was all it took for him to survey the scene before him and yet--Yet, when his gaze found mine--nothing beyond it seemed to matter…
His eyes were like drowning pools of pale fire, so intense they seemed to smolder. Nay, they lived and danced like the final embers of a dying flame, refusing to die. Those orbs themselves were unearthly, as if they belonged to something beyond my understanding. Without warning movement amongst his stillness drew me away from those soul imprisoning irises of cobalt nothingness. The cane abruptly was a whirlwind of blood, though once he plunged it into the frozen earth--the former vivid lacquer darkened. Till I returned my attention to my previous predicament, I thought nothing of this display. The hand which held my death, rapidly gained monument, did I understand this warrant response.
An ashen hand with long fingers and nails, which looked more like claws then the ebony teardrops they were took a hold of the cane once more. The grip was odd in itself, till--with nothing more then a flick of a wrist--the left hand revealed why. A hidden sword, one far sturdier than I'd ever seen used in a sword-cane for the blade look more like a long sword, rather then a rapier. However, I had no doubt, it was just as lethal. To my horror the rasp of steel against wood accomplished perhaps the one thing I wish it had not… It drew the complete, unquestioned and undivided attention of my captors. All the while, he held that tapered hilt like a duelist keeping the point oddly low, with the stance alone proclaiming that he was a master.
However, it did little good to the man who'd chosen to intervene, for two of my former companions still had their guns. And only a fool hardy soul would bring a knife to a gun fight, because to close the distance between the opposing forces would be suicidal. Yet, those soulless eyes had known this and still their owner stood. Stood, like the last defense against EVIL this world had never seen. And I pray would never see, for if my former 'brothers in arms' were my murderers, this man: nay this entity was their Death. They were just too stupid to realize it.
"Who are you?!" Demands the one wielding the knife. A knowing smile tugged at those frozen lips--so slight had the expression been, I can not say for certain if it had actually occurred.
"Your Death…" A hollowness, unlike anything else I'd ever heard tumbled from those wintery lips. It had a presence, all its' own, one when spoken caused the very veins in my being to freeze solid. Expect, they laughed--laughed like it been some kind of joke--but when the laughter settled, the leader ridicule him with.
"Then," the others snapped their rifles to the ready, muzzles trained on the intruder, "you should've killed us when our backs were turned and the advantage was yours." This time a smile did form, one that become ominous as those immobile lips curled back revealing elongated canines… I must've blinked, for one heartbeat he was there and the next--GONE--Gone, like he'd never been. The still standing sheath the only evidence of his existence.
The trio let out a little laughter, blowing off their own nerves while dropping their guard. Then and only then, did they turn their minds back to more pressing matters. My Death…or it would have been more pressing if that gentleman in all his finery wasn't instantaneously before them. NO! Amongst them, perhaps even through… it was simply UNREAL! It was as though, he was no more then a shadow, himself.
In horrific awe, I could not close my eyes. Nor dare I pull them away as Death danced his ghastly art…and as abruptly as this massacre begun, it ended in stillness. With a casual flick, this MONSTROSITY cleansed his sword, casting the freshly spilt blood from the naked blade. My vision clouded from the darkness ensnaring the mountain and its' slaughter, but also the creeping blackness of unconsciousness seeping through. Neither compared to the encompassing depths that were his and HIS alone… They, still were true, making it impossible to tell the gathering shadows from stillness of that human form.
"What are you?" I gasp as the final light fails, my savior turns… and in those pools of pale fire--a sadness--I'd never imagined from one such as HE.
"An Enigma." With that, I allow the awaiting abyss to swallow me whole. Mind. Body. And Soul.